The Maestro Online

Holistic Musician Interviews

Online Interviews with National and International Musicians.

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Jennifer Roig-Francoli

Jennifer describes her journey from being a talented, gifted violinist who started at the age of 4 and performed as soloist at Carnegie Hall as a teenager, to later developing pain that doctor’s couldn’t heal. She discusses her discovery of the Alexander Technique and how she’s taken this even further to create her own method.

For full text and interview video please visit: Going Beyond the Alexander Technique

Penny Randall-Davis

An internationally respected soprano who has had solo roles in Munich, Sydney Opera House and elsewhere, Penny fell ill and then trained in “Body, Breath and Voice”. She uses the qualities of vocal sound to work with the terminally ill via alternative health provisions. She has worked with people with vocal or breathing difficulties, people living with HIV, cancer, or depression.

For a more complete article and interview video please visit: Singing and Vocal Coaching for Musicians’ Wellbeing

David Eby

David Eby

David Eby was inspired to play the cello from the age of 6 and became an extremely successful musician, including being the founding cellist for Pink Martini. After a big change in his life, he was searching for something more and to manage performance anxiety. His connection with meditation was the answer, focused breathing and then significantly connecting emotion and soul with performances. This article is perfect for the advanced musician seeking to really connect their music making with their emotions and obtaining new depth.

The full article and interview video: Meditation Music Teaching and Musical Practising

His TedX talk is most inspiring and I encourage you to view that at: https://www.davidebymusic.com/about-david-eby/

Connected Musical Rehearsal and Expressive Performance with the Soul

Rev Bazil Meade MBE, International Gospel Choir Director

Rev Bazil Meade MBE

Bazil Meade MBE talks very openly about directing London Community Gospel Choir (LCGC). Bazil co-founded this internationally acclaimed choir and both he and the choir had humble, local community beginnings and yet have worked with artists such as Madonna, Sting and George Michael to name just a few.

Bazil Meade MBE Gospel Choir Directing, from humble beginnings to international success text and interview video.

 

Interested in a Gospel Piano masterclass with another Gospel legend, Mark Walker?

Visit the Celebrity Masterclasses

 

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Kevin Bowyer

Kevin Bowyer is an astonishing organist of international repute thanks to his incredible virtuosity, his ability to overcome the greatest technical and musical challenges and his sheer endurance when it comes to performing pieces that are several hours long.

He talks candidly about practice technique, articulation, phrasing, his concept of the whole piece, breath whilst performing, imposter syndrome, ‘clumsiness’, and his transition to published novelist.

Kevin Bowyer – From Musical Organ Genius to Novelist text and interview video.

 

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Martin Hall

Martin had the honour to be Chorus Master for Richard Hickox CBE, an internationally renown conductor. Martin himself then became renowned as an exceptional conductor in his own right and worked with significant international names from all over the world.

Martin writes, “On a dull November day in 1969 Martin Hall deputised for his brilliant but wayward school Director of Music by taking a school practice. He left the rehearsal room feeling ecstatic thinking ‘this is the life for me’. He has never regretted following his own advice. After study at the Royal Academy of Music and New College Oxford he has pursued a rich and varied career path as a conductor, keyboardist, teacher and animateur. Perhaps uniquely he claims to have directed some of the best and worst choirs in the world! He served out his apprenticeship by preparing works for some distinguished conductors including David Willcocks, Leon Lovett and Paul Daniel but felt he learnt most from the wonderful Richard Hickox about whom he reminisces in this interview.
Martin Hall – Chorus Master and Conducting text and interview video.

 

Exceptional Musicians Supporting Holistic Music Education

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Dr Douglas Coombes MBE

International conductor, composer, BBC producer, director, Dr Douglas Coombes MBE, current conductor of the Battle Proms at Blenheim Palace gives an enormous insight into his perspective as an international names.

He starts with memories of conducting lessons with Imogen Holst, daughter of Gustav Holst (The Planets fame). Imogen encouraged Douglas to never lose touch with his grass routes and there’s no doubt that through the many years that I’ve known Douglas, that really shines through.

This is a very detailed interview covering conducting technique and, a couple of more holistic elements: Hearing the perfect score performance in your mind

Hearing your specific singers, choirs and orchestra performing the same piece, in your mind.

Integrity to the composer and the music – a composition is a composer’s baby Teamwork – the core of Douglas’s philosophy

Finally, watch the video to see Douglas’s final thought: “Don’t forget the Walt Disney Approach”!

View a detailed text summary of the interview with Douglas here and interview video.

jazz scales masterclass

Mick Donnelly

At the age of 18 Mick landed his first professional job with Fred Olsen Line and spent nine months on one of their cruise liners learning his trade.

After another nine months in the Caribbean with the Cunard Line, he moved to London and had stints at the Cafe De Paris and the Hippodrome in the West End of London, Mick started recording and touring with the likes of:

Barry White, Britney Spears, Sting, The Bee Gees, Ronan Keating, Kool and the Gang, Lisa Stansfield, Sammy Davis Jr, Whitney Houston, Lulu, Shirley Bassey, Jr Walker, Princess, Tony Bennet, Desmond Decker, Gene Pitney, Steps, The Four Tops, Ben E King, Boy Meets Girl, Madness, Bob Mintzer, Spear of Destiny, Ian Dury, Imagination, Bobby Shew, The Temptations, Kiki Dee, Stuart Copeland, Robbie Willaims, Dexy’s Midnight Runners, Swing Out Sister and many more.

The interview with Mick can be viewed here and interview video.

How do you learn solos for a pop singing sensation? How do you blend in a band? How do you learn to improvise pop solos? Find all the answers here.

Mick has his own teaching academy: www.mdamusic.com

 

Piano masterclasses

Marcus Brown

Marcus Brown, the man regularly on the Keys for Madonna, James Morrison, Seal and who has also recorded on tracks for people such as Tina Turner, Celine Dion, S Club 7, Donna Summer, Honeyz, Mel C and plenty more besides, discusses his journey to become ‘the man on the keys’ that produces fabulous lines in literally minutes.

He gives a really interesting insight into how he creates melodies, how they are generated in his mind listening to a song and then he works them out at the keys. Timbre, colour, spontaneity, improvisation, technique are all parts of our discussion.

At the end of the interview, Marcus discusses how he handles nerves and anxiety. It is interesting and reassuring to know that the people at the top experiences these things too!

To learn the about pop piano and pop keyboard playing, read Marcus’s interview here and interview video.

Fancy studying a Logic Pro Masterclass with Marcus? Visit his Celebrity Masterclasses.

Cliff

Online Music Exams and Access for All

A fantastic interview with Cliff Cooper a holistic musician who has brought affordability and access to music right to the fore using online methods and this all began pre-pandemic.

Cliff is a very caring musician who has created a company that allows those who can’t afford music education and OFQAL certification to be able to access it.

He has also created an environment in which different cultures can access music qualifications irrelevant of their backgrounds.

Furthermore, location and geography are now never a barrier to education.

Cliff also discusses the anxiety involved in traditional music examination settings, the ease of recording examinations at home, the lessening of anxiety and the promotion of a positive experience around music performances.

Even the use of artificial intelligence allows examinations to be taken without the need for an examiner to be available at that particular moment and thus anyone can take any exam, any time, anywhere in the whole world.

Fantastic, true accessibility for all!

Cliff Cooper, Founder and CEO of Online Music Exams: https://www.onlinemusicexams.org/

Read the full article and interview video here.

Paul Harris International Music Pedagogue

Music Pedagogy

Paul Harris is THE modern day legend with regards to music teaching pedagogy. He has in excess of 600 publications to his name and has sold more than 1 million copies worldwide with translations into more languages than you can imagine. He continually travels the world “teaching teaching”, composes, conducts, and performs (clarinettist). He is the ultimate ‘holistic pedagogist’ who teaches lots to those who already have immense experience as teachers themselves. Beyond that, to add to the mix, he’s also a thoroughly caring, humble, warm person.

His specific concept is termed “Simultaneous Learning” and incorporates a whole range of musical aspects into a teaching programme to produce a very holistic musical education that trains every aspect of a music student.

Read the full Music Pedagogy article here and interview video.

 

 

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International Organ School

Anne Marsden Thomas is an internationally renowned name in the world of organ education. She has 22 publications to her name and is most renowned for founding an international organ school and international organ summer course that has now been absorbed under the Royal College of Organist’s umbrella. Despite Anne’s esteemed reputation, she is undoubtedly an enthusiast and supporter for organists of all levels, from all backgrounds and of all ages. She is also respected by all as an extremely methodical teacher, fondly commended by all of her students.

She is now also co-chair of the Society of Women Organists and Anne discusses the gender imbalance that not only still exists in the organ world, but that she points out is surprisingly worse than it was a century ago.

Read the full article and interview on organ teaching and women organists here and interview video.